Monday, July 17, 2006
Short-cutting intuition

Human beings like to think they are in control. Of their thoughts, of their lives, of their destiny, even of mother nature.

But the reality is that we are not in control. We can affect things, but we don't control them. We are actors in a sea of change, we can push and pull, or glide and float.

Yes, we have wonderful minds that can comprehend much in a flash of inspiration, or can learn every step of every scale. It seems we can master much. Or, if we restrict ourselves to a small part of the universe, it looks like we are in control.

Perhaps you understand music. Let's say you play piano, or guitar. You know that if you want THIS sound, you play a certain chord progression like so.... or perhaps you invent melodies in your mind, and they just flow out of your fingers on your instrument of choice. That is what it's like when I play guitar. That is the dream of so many musicians. Someone who can do this MUST be in control.

Now, pick up the kalimba. For most people, control just went out the window! Even though it is intellectually simple to grasp the note layout, to get your thumbs to obey your higher mind is another matter. For most people, their old intuition no longer works when they play kalimba.

You must approach this simple instrument as something totally new. You must invent a new intuition for this instrument. Your old pathways and ruts are no longer valid. Open yourself up to chance, to the unknown, and in that space beyond where your competence ends, be open to something beyond you coming in to fill the void.

And, if you are NOT a maestro on some other instrument, guess what? It doesn't matter! You are approaching this instrument the same way as all maestros: as a beginner. When we approach something with a beginner's mind, we are standing in a place where we can actually see.

If you don't know the book "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind", by Shunryo Suzuki, it is well worth checking out.